Muhumba is a street I lived in for two years. The way you pronounce is by putting your lips together as if you were about to kiss and make the sound that cows make: MOOH and then OU and then MBA. That last sound is the same as for my last name. Anglophones and Francophones always chop up that sound and it doesn’t surprise or make me smile anymore because I often do the same with English and French words. Mba is a bantou sound and unless you have lived in any Sub Saherian African area, you might not know how to say it right.
For now, lets return to this street where I lived in for two years. My mother was renting an apartment at the time, and my favorite time of the day was the afternoon because during that afternoon, I could day dream for hours, looking at the way the wind picked up dust and twirled it around for a while or watch students walking back from school in their white and blue uniforms. My afternoon has even increased in interest since one of those school students who passed by was Basima. That name used to change the room temperature, accelerate my blood pressure and make Nature greener and more enchanting. Her uniform wasn’t any different than any other student. She was the same age as my cousin which meant 5 years older than I was. But in the midst of my day dreaming, she had come along, walking to her home as if she owned the ground she walked on and my heart knew not what to do with itself.
To make a story short, a year went by and I found myself in the same school as her, but she remained that mythical queen who walked down my street and the two times we met, my brain space had expanded to take in every detail of her and leave no room for words. Out of all the girls one could fall in love with, I had to go with no other than the most popular girl in high school. I had sleepless nights, wrote love letters, mocked myself, made up stories about us until I couldn’t take it anymore. Having been bred by romantic tales from “serious” literature, I decided to declare my love to her or die.
I went to her house, after summoning the gods and God to help me for a good two hours and asked her sister to talk to her. I spilled every bit of my heart to her on that beautiful afternoon. That afternoon was as beautiful as the ones I used to have until she came along. She cried but said nothing. I turned around and left. I wasn’t dead but I wish I was.
Muhumba is the street I will return one day and walk it back and forth and hopefully put to rest the ghosts from the past.